Warming and Civilization

I am taking a course in the history of the High Middle Ages in Europe, say between 1000AD and 1300.  One of the demographic drivers of the Middle Ages is the fact that population, while flat before 1000 and declining after 1300, actually doubled in Europe between 1000 and 1300.  One of the key drivers was a very warm period that caused agriculture to flourish.

The funny part was listening to the professor try to present this section to today’s audience.  He had to keep saying "I know you may find this hard to believe, but warming was very beneficial to European civilization."  It was clear the audience was so programmed to think warming=bad, that listeners had a hard time accepting the historical fact that warming created a boom, including a population boom, in Middle Age Europe.

  • bill-tb

    Population follows food production, which follows global warming. I suspect before it is all over, people will see warm is good, cold is bad, ice ages are worse. And Al Gore for the charlatan that he is.

    The notion that man can control the heavens when we can’t even control our own borders, that’s just stupidity of the moment.

  • …the audience was so programmed to think…

    The audience was clearly programmed, but not to think. That is the problem with climate indoctrination, and other forms of ideological indoctrination that has found its way into schools and popular culture.

    Reading and thinking are becoming endangered arts.

  • Reminds me of an article I read last week. “Global Warming May Save Lives,” stated that from 1971-2003, cold-related deaths in the UK fell by 3% while heat-related remained unchanged despite higher temperatures.

    Amazing that the obvious alludes some folks. I’m enjoying the milder winters, myself.

  • Larry Sheldon

    At least one of us out here in flyover country think some worming would be beneficial to the Middle West!

  • Scientist

    AEGeneral – you can check this one out yourself. Get the Central England Temperature record here. Get the annual recorded number of winter excess deaths here. Plot a graph with time on the x-axis and temperature and excess deaths on the y-axis. If global warming is going to reduce the winter excess death rate, you should see a correlation, with colder years seeing a higher death rate. If, on the other hand, winter excess deaths fell due to generally improving health care, and not because of warming, then there would be no correlation. Tell us what you find.

    Another very interesting data point is that in Yakutsk, perhaps the coldest city on earth, there is no excess winter mortality.

  • That is, if you ignore respiratory mortality. Also, the maintenance of other mortality was achieved by warm clothing (which of course are free) and by staying at home during extremely cold spells (which had no effect on productivity). So cold is no problem, provided you have free warm clothing, free home heating, and don’t have to work.

  • Scientist

    Why misrepresent the data so absurdly, Stephen?

  • jep, Kansas USA

    If people were actually educated and taught to think, they wouldn’t fall prey to all sorts of scams. That’s the role of public education in the United States today, to make people gullible to the latest PC trend that comes along.

    Parts of the Middle Ages were warmer than anything experienced this century or last, on average. The Little Ice Age was a horrible time to live.

  • Scientist – if your intent is to dispute the correlation between warmer winter temperatures and cold-related deaths, maybe you should take the matter up with the Department of Health. The study can be found at:

    link

  • Scientist

    AEGeneral – well you can see by the simple fact of Yakutsk’s winter excess mortality that it’s not so simple as cold winter = more deaths. It’s well known that winter excess mortality is higher at temperate latitudes than polar ones, so it’s very clear that it’s not cold that kills but lack of preparation for it.

    jep – what evidence do you have for your claim that Parts of the Middle Ages were warmer than anything experienced this century or last, on average. The Little Ice Age was a horrible time to live?

  • Scientist – I’m not prepared to die, myself; but whatever inevitably kills me, I assure you that my death certificate will cite the cause of death, not that I died from not being prepared for whatever killed me.

    But to adopt your line of thought for a moment…if it’s the lack of preparation in temperate zones that kills, I’m content to increase my carbon footprint, thereby increasing temperature and decreasing instances of dangerously cold-weather — and thus the need for preparedness in such circumstances — in temperate zones.

  • Scientist

    Who cares what the death certificate says? By that bizarre logic, you wouldn’t bother wearing a helmet while cycling, or a seatbelt while driving.

    There is no such thing as dangerously cold weather, in most of the world. Yakutsk shows us that. Do you care about the consequences of global warming in parts of the world other than where you live?

  • Raven

    I am always astounded on how alarmists will misrepresent the most basic facts in order push their doomsday vision.

    Cold kills more that heat. Numerous studies back that up. Here is one: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4371096.stm

    Human adapt to cold to reduce the death toll. But humans can adapt to heat as well so the adaption argument is a non-argument.
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2008/02/14/few-french-fried-in-2006/

  • There is no inconsistency….

    Warming creates population growth, more population means bad things for the planet (e.g. More wars, death, suffering and starvation). This is what the global warming scaremongers are really trying to stop. It’s the same people who have been claiming the sky is falling due to population growth that are screaming about global warming.

    The global warming schtik is just their latest way of trying to pay homage to Malthus….

  • Papertiger

    I like this angle using Yakutsk.
    Let’s remove imported food grown in temperate climates and trucked in to feed Yakutsk.
    Then lets remove heating oil.
    Then lets remove textiles used to make that excellent winter garb the locals wrap themselves in.
    What do you think? Would that cut their collective carbon footprint about 80%?
    Now guess how that would change the death rate due to cold.

  • Scientist – of course I care. You’ve given me a better sense of direction on this.

    If it’s well known that winter excess mortality is higher at temperate latitudes than polar ones, and it’s very clear that it’s not cold that kills but lack of preparation for it, then I know what I have to do.

    I’ve got to save these unprepared souls. If they refuse to prepare for it, then I’ve got to stop it from happening completely.

    I’m going to purchase an SUV. And some incandescent lightbulbs. And some baked beans.

    I will increase my carbon footprint five-fold.

    Thanks, scientist. You’ve really won me over with this discussion.

  • Scientist

    Errr… yeah. Blinding logic.